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Stomp Dancer Taking Medicine / Jerome Tiger

Essay/Description

“An important part of the Stomp Dance is the taking of medicine for both physical and spiritual benefits.”—Peggy Tiger, wife of Jerome Tiger

Stomp Dancer Taking Medicine provides a glimpse into the Muscogee Green Corn ceremony, when the male Stomp Dancer is bent toward the earth, drawing water from a humble wooden bucket and anointing his face and head.1 The medicine consists of indigenous plants that are harvested by hand, combined with water, and prayed over. The Stomp Dancer wears a rose-colored cotton shirt, a neck scarf, trousers, cream-colored pointed-toe cowboy boots, and a handmade belt designed to accentuate his movements. His rolled-brim cowboy hat is adorned with eagle feathers tufted with red horsehair.

Muscogee and Seminole artist Jerome Tiger’s portrayal of the vibrant, splashing droplets emphasizes the motion of the medicine water. This is balanced by the still, reflective water pooling on the ground, and these silvery pools connect viewers to the otherwise undefined landscape and sky. Tiger only painted Indigenous subjects, and he produced iconic artworks until his untimely death at age twenty-six.

—Jordan Poorman Cocker, Henry Luce Foundation Curatorial Scholar for Indigenous Painting Collection Research, 2021

This text was developed from an interview with artist Dana Tiger, daughter of Jerome Tiger, by Jordan Poorman Cocker, April 21, 2021

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1 Jerome Tiger’s Stomp Dance (02.1710), which depicts the dancers in motion, is also in the Gilcrease collection.

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Title(s): 
Stomp Dancer Taking Medicine
Creator(s): 
Jerome Tiger (After)
Culture: 
Native American; Muscogee (Creek), Seminole
Date: 
1966
Materials/Techniques: 
tempera on paper
Classification: 
Object Type: 
Credit Line: 
Given in Memory of Walter E. Walpole
Accession No: 
02.1713
Previous Number(s): 
0227.1713; 39587
Department: 
Signed by hand in tempera, "Tiger, '66" in lower right on recto; Notes in the artist's hand; Handwritten notes are present in sketch; Inscribed by hand in tempera, "- Stomp Dancer Taking Medicine. -" in lower center on recto.
Not On View

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